Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Akashah Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard you before?

I began Akashah 9 years ago, in January of 2001 with some crude home recordings, being the first Black Metal to come from Peoria, Illinois. It has essentially been a one man band, but I have had guest musicians and session members help out on recordings and live shows. Being mostly a solitary project, there isn't much of a "history" to speak of.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

Harsh and atmospheric Black Metal. It's drawn very much from the early Scandinavian scene, but I also take influences from the 90's Polish scene, 80's thrash and classic metal, classical music, and Celtic folk songs. There is a certain rawness to the music, but I also pay attention to details of melody, harmony and fluid compositions.

3. What is the meaning behind the band's name?

It is derived from the Sanskrit word "akasha" which is the fifth element of being; the metaphysical plane. I started the band with the intent of making modern Pagan music based upon ancient concepts. I felt that was a fitting name, and one that would not limit me to writing about only one or two things.

4. Have you had an oppurtunity to do a show, if so what are some of the best shows that you have played so far, and how wold you describe your life performance?

In nine years, there have only been five live performances with Pan Ziege of Null Dynamo on drums, Aaron Dawson of Cygnus Loop on bass and myself on vocals and guitar. They have all been in small bars around central Illinois, performing as a three piece... which I think limits the delivery of the songs and therefore not very interesting. There are not many musicians in my area with an interest in this kind of music, so a stable and reliable line up has not been easy to get. Hopefully this will change in the future.

5. What releases have you put out so far?

Aside from self released demos the first full length "Barbarous" was released on Strong Survive back in 2007. I have a couple of releases through Darker Than Black pending and a possible 7" in the works. I don't like to say too much about future releases because the underground is quite unpredictable and plans fall through often. Lets just say I have a pretty large catalog of unreleased material growing.

6. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the band heading into on future releases?

I think I've developed a bit more of an original sound than before, and I am a much better musician than early on, though I still have my flaws. I would also say the scope of the music has expanded. I was only interested in doing strictly Black Metal before, but since I listen to many styles of music I continually try to expand the sound.

7. How would you describe the lyrical content of your music?

It is some what of a bardic tradition for me. Some of my lyrics are just re-workings of ancient Pagan texts, such as the "Song of Amergan" and some parts of the Norse Eddas. Others are derived from historical sources, and others are just fictitious folklore stories that I write. The themes are pretty much exclusively Pagan, though I've done a few songs concerning Werewolf and Vampire lore.

8. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music?

Enslaved, Graveland, Bathory, Ulver, Glenn Danzig to name a few. I am into a lot of music and I'm sure it all influences me either directly or indirectly. I like many variations of metal, some old punk stuff, Irish pub music, classical music, some electronic stuff, 70's rock, 80's metal, etc.

9. What are some bands or different types of music that you re listening to nowadays?

I am constantly checking out new things I've never heard, and going back and listening to things from the past. In recent weeks the most notable things I've been listening to would be the first three Rainbow albums, the ones with Dio on vocals. They were a great band at that time; very much traditional Heavy Metal with an interesting influence from Medieval madrigals. Also the Concussor demo that was just released. They are a new band from Peoria, Illinois that play some excellent, well executed old style Death Metal. Every one into this style should look into them.

10. What role does Celtic Paganism play in the music and who are some pagan authors or philosphers that you draw or influences from, also do you have any interest in other forms of paganism or occultism?

I have been strongly inspired by Celtic lore in recent years and the lyrics certainly reflect that. I have written songs pertaining to Celtic holidays like Samhain and Beltaine; lately I am interested in Druidic shamanism and Celtic spirituality. It is an interesting view of the world that is reflected in the knotwork art of the Celts, where this world and the next weave in and out from one an other. Also have an interest in the concept of the the underworld, Anwnn, and cthonic deities associated with it. I would also say there is a Celtic slant to the music it's self, borrowing some ideas from Irish music. That said, I would not consider Akashah to be another "folk metal" band.
I am interested in Paganism and the occult in general, be it Greek, Norse, Roman, Persian, etc. As for books The Mabinogion, The Tain, The Norse Eddas, surviving records of Greek historian Posidonius, "The Pagan Celts" by Ann Ross, "The Philosopher and the Druid" by Phillip Freeman, "The Celtic Twilight" by W. B. Yeats are all good books. Also some of Freya Aswyn's writings are interesting. I am currently reading "The Celtic Heroric Age" by John T. Koch.

11. What are some other interests you have outside of music?

Well I'm pretty absorbed by music most of the time, but other interests would be culinary arts, ancient history, archaeology, high quality beer, Irish whiskey, obscure horror films, and sex.

12. Any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for your interest and support. Band contact and samples can be heard at the official myspace:

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